Afghanistan

Mine Action Programme of Afghanistan Newsletter, November 2009

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KHOST'S FIRST COMMUNITY BASED DEMINING PROJECT LAUNCHED

The first community based demining project to be undertaken in Khost province was launched in Tanai district this month. 13 community demining teams were hired, providing employment for 217 people in impacted communities. They will be supported by one Mechanical Demining Unit. A field office was also established in Khost city along with two sub offices in Dragi and Gosha villages of Tani district.

Khost province is made up of 577 communities, 45 of which are impacted by landmines and explosive remnants of war. Tani District has six impacted communities and is located on the border with Pakistan.

All the deminers were recruited from the affected communities and began their training on 15th October. After completing the training and being supplied with the required equipment, they will be deployed to the affected communities for demining operations in the first week of December 2009.

Mine Clearance and Planning Agency (MCPA) is conducting this one year project through which the community based demining teams will clear more than one square kilometre of suspected hazardous area.

Naqibullah, a community based deminer from Gosha village of Tania districts said: "I am 24 years old but I didn't have enough funds to complete my education. Before joining the community based demining programme, I was just finding whatever work I could, wherever I could. Now I am very happy to have a job in my own village. I am trained as a deminer and afterwards will start demining to remove this hidden enemy from my community and save the lives of my friends and family."

The widespread contamination in these communities has made life very difficult for the residents but this project will prevent potential deaths and injuries through landmine accidents and enable community members to use their agricultural land productively for growing crops and grazing animals and increase their incomes and quality of life.

The community based demining teams work to clear their communities and surrounding contaminated areas and once the problem is solved, they will be dismantled and new teams will be created in other contaminated areas.

In addition to this project, CBD projects have been implemented in Kunar, Helmand, Uruzgan, Kandahar and Ghor provinces. Community-based demining (CBD) has emerged as a successful strategy for tackling the mine and ERW problem in Afghanistan, whilst simultaneously supporting stabilisation in volatile communities.